Levante opts for renovation over new stadium

Spanish LaLiga football team Levante has fully committed its future to the Estadi Ciutat de València after reaching an agreement with the city council that will lead to a second phase of renovations for the club’s home since 1969.

The Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, and the president of Levante, Quico Catalán, have signed the agreement, a project which the city council “values positively for urban, environmental and social reasons” considering it “in the public interest for the city of Valencia”.

A first phase of renovation is currently taking place, focusing on the installation of a new roof, along with lighting, broadcast and security facilities. The second phase will encompass a comprehensive remodelling of the stadium structure, enhancing its accessibility and safety.

This phase will also add hotel, restaurant and commercial services, as well as improvements to common areas and the creation of a VIP area, new offices and communication areas, as well as changing rooms.

In October 2010, given the desire at the time for the club to build a new stadium in a different location, an agreement was reached with Valencia City Council that would have allowed the sale of the Estadi Ciutat de València for redevelopment as residential property.

This sale would have provided funds for a new stadium, but Levante has stated this option has been dropped following analysis “gathering the practically unanimous feeling of the fans, considering the excellent current urban location of the stadium and studying the different existing alternatives”. Therefore the 2010 agreement has been annulled.

Levante last month secured a loan of up to €60m (£54.9m/$71.1m) to aid the ongoing redevelopment of Estadi Ciutat de València. The club signed the agreement with Benjamin de Rothschild Infrastructure Debt Generation (BRIDGE), a debt fund platform for infrastructure projects managed by Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management.

The purpose of the agreement is to finance the redevelopment of the Ciutat de Vàlencia, the construction of the new sports city at Nazaret, and cancel mortgage agreements with Caixabank and Cajas Rurales Unidas.

In accordance with the terms signed by the parties, and to structure the operation, a new company was created, Levante UD Nuevos Desarrollos, of which the club is the sole partner. This new entity will be the owner of the land on which the sports city will sit.

Commenting on the latest developments, Ribó said: “We wish Levante UD the greatest success and hope that everything goes very well, and that both the Orriols neighbourhood and the Nazaret neighbourhood – with the Sports City project – as well as, in general, the whole city, might also enjoy world-class sports infrastructure.”

Catalán added: “(The agreement) permits our home to continue to be our home, and that this stadium of ours is a national and international benchmark not only in the world of football, but also in Valencia, making it an attractive and interesting place for people who come to Valencia to enjoy sport and the city itself.”

Image: Levante UD